Andy McSmith's Diary: A potty mouth in politics? Personally, I blame the kids


When David Cameron said in a radio interview that he did not use Twitter because “too many twits might make a twat”, at least he had the excuse that he did not know what the word meant. It was explained to him afterwards by his press secretary Gabby Bertin, and he duly apologised.

I doubt that the health minister Anna Soubry can plead ignorance over her potty mouth comment in the current issue of Total Politics on Tory plotters who want to remove David Cameron from the leadership. “When people talk about such-and-such a person as an alternative to Cameron, there is no vacancy… What we now need to do is stop people in the party engaging in quite a lot of twattery,” she said. Shocking. Did she learn that sort of language from her children?

RIP Jim – king of putting his Foot in his mouth

On the subject of people who are loyal to leaders, it is sad to hear that Jim Mortimer has died. An honest old cove, he was quite the worst General Secretary the Labour Party ever had.

He played a central part in the disastrous 1983 general election campaign, during which he was annoyed that the press should be speculating that there were moves inside the party to remove Michael Foot from the leadership.

Wanting to put them finally to rest, Mortimer faced a crowded press conference and told the astounded hacks that the matter had been discussed by the Campaign Committee, and that they had “unanimously agreed that Michael Foot is the Leader of the Labour Party.”

Leaders who lunch stand out from the crowd...

Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, likes to emphasise the difference between himself and the three main party leaders, all of whom studied economics at Oxford, went straight to work as wannabe politicians, and have sensible lifestyles.

Farage treats it as a selling point that he has worked in the City and lived the lifestyle of a city speculator. “I worked damn hard in the City of London for 20 years…” he told a Press Gallery lunch yesterday “…up until lunchtime.”

EDF won’t waste their energy on creating jobs

Prospect and Unite, the unions representing nuclear power workers, were not happy with the announcement by the debt-ridden French energy firm, EDF, that they are cutting the numbers doing preparatory work on the proposed power plant at Hinkley Point, C plant, in Somerset, to reduce costs.

They would have been even less happy if they had heard Nigel Knee, EDF’s head of nuclear policy, tell the Westminster Energy and Environment Forum: “Arguably we should be looking for the investment that produces least jobs.” Candid, but politically not clever.

Sacré bleu! Is Le Becks losing his golden touch?

It is hard to remember a world in which David Beckham was not famous, but one day, such a world will exist again. We are even having a foretaste of what it might be like, according to France’s best-selling Sunday newspaper, Le JDD, which has a rubric, “Le Beckhamètre”, which gives him a weekly “score” based on the number of mentions of his name in the media worldwide.

The latest entry, which appeared alongside a report of Beckham’s manager storming out of a press conference after being asked what it was like having his three boys, Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz, watching the day’s training session, lamented that Becks, had had only 1,178 mentions that week, his lowest score since his arrival in Paris.

It was the second bad week in a row. The previous week, on 14 April, “Le Beckhamètre” opened with the grim announcement: “Crime de lèse-majesté: Margaret Thatcher éclipse David Beckham,” after the number of mentions of “Le Spice Boy” tumbled to 2,470, compared with 6,486 for “la Dame de fer”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'